Today’s contribution is from Good Measure Meals’ registered dietitian, Callie O’Steen MPH, RDN, LD, CHES A- Assess:Before adding a protein supplement to your routine, assess your personal situation. What are your health and fitness goals? How much protein do you need? How much are you currently eating? Don’t go into this blindly, review the information in your FitTrip Guidebook on protein needs and schedule an appointment with your club’s registered dietitian. Your RD can help assess your current protein needs to ensure safe levels of intake. B- Be SafeDid you know supplements can be marketed before proving safe for consumption? The FDA doesn’t even start the regulatory process until something bad has been reported. So, be safe. But how? Check out the U.S Pharmacopeial Convention at usp.org. They verify supplement brands that undergo a voluntary, rigorous verification process to help ensure safety, quality, and purity. C- ConsumeConsume complete proteins. Complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids, or building blocks of protein. The current recommendations are a food first approach to protein consumption. This means getting your nutrients from whole foods before supplementing with individual or isolated nutrients. Eating protein rich foods provide protein-supportive nutrients like Iron, B-12, and Zinc. However, if you’ve decided to find a safe supplement to help reach your protein needs, whey and casein are your best bets. Research finds both whey (fast acting protein) and casein (slow acting protein) help support gradual protein accumulation and they work great if taken together! For those that are lactose intolerant or avoid animal products, soy supplements are a decent replacement. Although soy lacks one of the essential amino acids, of all the plant based protein sources, it has the highest content of protein per gram. Other plant sources like pea or hemp protein have lower amounts of amino acids and may not be as effective if taken alone. Keep in mind, the only way to build muscle is resistance training. However, proper nutrition plays a huge role in effective muscle gain.